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A Hole to China: Part 1

The first of five parts.

She left.

I asked for it, I think. Yes. Come to think of it, I believe I did ask for it quite specifically. Well. There. There you go.

I wanted to get back to her.

It would be like digging a hole to China.

Not like a slow boat to China, because that is a reality, something that could readily happen. This hole is a hole in my soul, rendered by the arrow having been pulled back out by Cupid, crudely and diagonally back through my heart, as though through a flesh globe, and which to fill would require the dirt dug out from a hole to China. Cupid breaks the arrow over his chubby knee.

Another hole. They keep happening. There goes a ghost of me. I put it on the payroll. Kind of thing that happens a lot here in Stinkweed.

Hole to China

Yes: Chicago is Pottawattomie for Stinkweed.

And I tell you this: I know I'm not the Shit, but I smell it everywhere. This town, at this time, is rife with it, and Time will bear this fact out. In the meantime, I urge you to believe.

I'm not the Shit, but I'm close to it, real close.

Actually, I pulled it out, this arrow, she and I pulled it out together, but it's easier to blame somebody else. Big, fat, Jupiter-red Cupid got sick of us bitching and pulled his fucking arrows back out. You hate what you have and love what you want. You'll no sooner cure that wont than dig a hole to China, but, if it makes you feel better for now, set about your plans.

You get to thinking a lot about trowels and levels, polishing up the high school French for when you get there.

That kind of thing.

And, in the weeks after you stop seeing someone, if you like, you think a lot about getting back together, or, I do anyway, even though you know it will never happen, and isn't supposed to happen. It's just something you imagine, a soothing fantasy that helps you get through that particular day, and gradually it gets easier. A fantasy is a pain reliever. All the relief you can legally buy without a prescription. Go ahead and start digging the hole if it helps for now. Slowly. If there were a boat, it would definitely be slow. And somewhat drunken. So. Best get started.

She left. Gone. "Goodbye now." Goodbye now.


I wanted to get back at her. Yes. Living well is (often) the best revenge and revenge was seeming sweet, truly sweet. Sweet even if it was wrong. Sweeter even for being wrong.

She always wanted me to write about her. As a result, I never did.

Then one day I and I suddenly and (not quite) wholly without warning had to come up with something to do other than hate myself for the six months it would take just to decompress from having been with this powerful woman so long after the future became more important than the present, the six months I was figuring it was going to take before I would be myself again, whoever the fuck that was. There. Six months of being somebody else, a guy in less pain. And, of course, it ends up being a fuck of a lot longer than six months, in the end, when it stops.

Love is the drug? I had to live through withdrawal. OK, then.

I hired my pre-ghost to Ghost the novelization.

Fucker charges too much. Go:

Billy was mangled.

Mangled = brutalized by booze and drugs and their attendant hangovers. Self-abused in the guise of distraction or even celebration. It starts before love ends, it starts as the end of love looms and carries one through the end and past it, into near-oblivion if not actual oblivion. Invariably, the morning after, Billy was mangled. The self-destruction could end only when he realized, "This has got to stop."


"You're just a penis with an act." She actually said that to me once. Early on. I couldn't believe it. It resonated for days. It seemed really true. And really scary.

"Power corrupts," I would go now. "Behold a beautiful woman."

Absolute power absolutely. Boom. There.

Nobody stays together anymore. We were both single and we were both at a party. I and I like to party a lot. She isn't into it so much. And this is where it begins and ends, basically. I'll just come out and go: this is like one of those stories about a guy who I'll just say is a friend of mine. It's not me, it's this friend of mine that I'm close to, I swear to God. He has, like, sextophenia or something. At least six different, distinct personalities by my last perhaps faulty count. His is a myriad of voices in three-dimensions: six different guys, then each are manic/depressive, then a couple aren't sure they're entirely just guys. Would you blame a guy? Could you blame the guy?

People are animals. They are compelled to obey the laws of nature (gravity, physics, physicality). She and I were like two little party squirrels whose endless movements converged in an energy that surged and then waned geometrically. It burnt pretty hot and pretty fast, in a sometimes truly cruel friction, and with a remarkable, regretful, strictly inescapable gravity. One squirrel was red, and one was black.

"Nobody should get married anymore. It ruins everything. It really ruins everything."

Billy was mangled.

Billy began to think. It was a big moment.

Billy was broker than shit. And he did not care. It was almost un-American.

He figured America was broker than shit too and could still kick anybody's ass. That was the big difference. We're fried too, but we can kick your motherfucking ass, so, it's OK, right? RIGHT?

Billy is a patriot. A true lover.

He'd been recently let go as journalist for a financial rag, journalism being the kind of day job an aspiring creative writer like Billy thought would be perfect. Turns out, no day job is any perfecter than any other. He didn't get any more creative writing done as a journalist than he would've done as a housepainter bartender. Journalism was no better or worse than anything else, provided it wasn't celebrity journalism.

If there was one thing Billy hated more than poetry, it was celebrity journalism.


Coming Tuesday: She drank beer. "Beer!" Billy was very, very excited about that.


J. J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He can reached at Images graciously provided by Brett Johnson.


Posted on December 3, 2007

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